Word of the day


Aberrational – departing from an accepted standard or norm; departing from what is normal, usual, or expected, typically an unwelcome one; characterised by an aberration.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Book puts farming at centre of NZ’s story :

Brian Easton says his new book could not ignore farming’s contribution to the history of NZ.

William Soltau Davidson is not usually considered one of New Zealand’s great 19th century heroes. He came to New Zealand in 1865 as a 19-year-old farm cadet at the Levels in South Canterbury. By the age of 32 he was general manager of the New Zealand and Australian Land Company, which held some 3,000,000 acres in the South Island, in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, some of which Davidson sold off to small holders.

In 1882 he supervised the loading of the first exports of frozen meat at Port Chalmers and welcomed the Dunedin when it reached London. That Davidson does not appear more prominently in our general histories reflects their neglect of the central role of farming.

It is a strange omission, probably the result of the urban base of the writers, the tendency to imitate foreign histories with their focus on industrialisation and their lack of interest in the economy. . . 

Farmer is game for a challenge – Colin Williscroft:

Two-time women’s Rugby World Cup winner Bex Mahoney is these days putting her energy into running a Tararua farming business with her husband Luke but she’s also breaking new ground on the rugby field. There are synergies between the two, as Colin Williscroft reports.

Bex Mahoney likes to challenge herself to have a go at different things because that gives her an edge.

Is a simple philosophy but one that has paid off for the Pahiatua farmer. 

Only the fourth New Zealander to have played 50 first class games of rugby and gone on to referee 50 first class games, both men’s and women’s, the mother of two young girls spends much of her time getting her hands dirty on-farm while also exploring new farming opportunities online and on the phone.  . . 

Farmstrong hits 5th birthday:

Rural wellbeing initiative Farmstrong is celebrating its fifth birthday.

More than 18,000 Kiwi farmers and growers have engaged in the last year alone. 

Farmstrong helps farmers and their families cope with the ups and downs of farming by sharing things farmers can do to look after themselves and the people in their business.

It offers practical tools and resources through its website, workshops and community events, inviting farmers to find out what works for them and lock it in. Farmers using good techniques to stay mentally and physically fit and healthy are regularly featured in stories in Farmers Weekly.  . . 

Queens Birthday honours: cattle breeder Bruce McKenzie:

Bruce McKenzie is proud of his Queen’s Birthday Honour, even though rumour has it, he thought it was a joke at first.

The Wairarapa beef breeder was awarded Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to the cattle industry.

“It’s a great honour to receive this. I think agriculture is going to be a part of the future in New Zealand and I feel very proud to have this honour” he told The Country’s Jamie Mackay. . .

Research finds sheep eyes are the window to their stressed out souls :

Kiwi researchers have found the temperature of a sheep’s eye is linked to the animal’s level of stress.

Thermal imaging technology is being used by AgResearch scientists to gain greater insights into how livestock experience stress, and how that knowledge can help enhance animal welfare.

Research in which the technology is focused on sheep has been published today in the PLOS ONE scientific journal, entitled “Evaluation of infrared thermography as a non-invasive method of measuring the autonomic nervous response in sheep“. . . 

Partners in agritech innovation – Niall Casey:

While it may sound like a cliché to say that Ireland and New Zealand both punch above their weights, it’s clear from the figures that it’s true.

Ireland, a country of less than 5 million people produces enough food to feed over 50 million people, while NZ’s agri-food is known across the world for its food – with its dairy farming passing $15b in export earnings annually.

Both countries are united by their shared commitment to quality, traceability and the highest standards in production and safety.

Some more welcome than others


The move to alert level 1 takes us back to nearly as life was pre-Covid-19, except that border are closed, at least to some though not others:

With calving season about to kick off, calls are mounting for critical migrant workers to be allowed back into New Zealand.

Going into calving short-staffed isn’t how Waikato’s Duncan Scott wanted to begin the new milking season.

But like many dairy farmers around the country, Scott’s without key staff who are unable to return to New Zealand because of border restrictions prompted by the international Covid-19 pandemic. . . 

His herd manager has been on the farm for three years and can’t be replaced by someone inexperienced.

Scott said he understood the current drive to employ Kiwis and he had taken on people who were previously out of work because of the economic fallout of Covid-19.

“But you also need some experienced people to lead the new staff,” he said.

He gave an analogy of what it might be like replacing the herd manager with an inexperienced person.

“If you can imagine someone turning up to Waikato Hospital to give birth and finding the midwife is an airline pilot who has been out of work for the past three weeks.

“That’s the situation we are in and that’s why we need these guys (migrant workers) back in the country.” . . 

Federated Farmers immigration and labour spokesperson Chris Lewis also farms near the Scott family in the Pukeatua district in the Waikato.

He is aware of the labour shortage but said it appeared only movie stars were allowed in the country, referring to the crew of the Avatar sequel. . .

Experienced dairy staff with work visas aren’t allowed in, but relatives of film crew are:

Ten of the 200 high-value foreigners – such as the Avatar film crew – allowed entry into New Zealand during the border restrictions were relatives of the workers.

The news comes as work visa holders and their families – already settled in New Zealand but out of the country when the border closed in March – clamour for permission to return.

The immigration industry has added its voice, saying urgent applications from New Zealand employers for vital overseas staff are languishing in a ‘deep dark hole’.

The government has faced criticism for the opaque process behind the exemptions, including initially that they even existed. . . 

Getting to level 1 and having no active cases of Covid-19 has come at a very high economic and social cost.

We can’t afford to undo the gains with lax border restrictions.

But providing people who come in agree to managed isolation and, where needed, quarrantine at their own expense people with work visas, family of residents and citizens and anyone else who will make a positive contribution to the economy, for example foreign students, should be allowed in.

Like several other government policies current border restrictions are arbitrary and unfair, making some people more welcome than others with no fair grounds for discriminating.

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